Vice presidential candidate Mike Pence had a hairy moment when the campaign jet he was riding in skidded off the runway in New York.
The Indiana governor headed back to New York after campaigning in Iowa when torrential rain caused the Boeing 737-700 to skid onto the grass at the end of the runway.
Thankfully, collapsing concrete safety measures put in place at the end of the runway slowed down the jet so it did not reach the Grand Central Parkway, one of New York’s busiest highways.
Neither Governor Pence nor any of the other 47 passengers who had been on board were hurt. Not only were Governor Pence’s campaign team on board, but members of the media were on the plane too having followed him to Iowa and back.
However, Governor Pence said there had been a few seconds when he had wondered if there was going to be a serious problem.
He said: “We just immediately felt heavy braking on the runway and the plane fishtailed a bit. You could feel us bouncing off. With mud splattered up on the windows, we figured we were up off the runway, but thank God everyone was fine.”
Following the accident, deep groves can be seen where the jet has cut through a special Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS). An aircraft is slowed by the loss of energy and momentum as it crushes the EMAS material in a similar concept to the ramps filled with gravel or sand which are designed to stop runaway trucks.
Governor Pence said first responders seemed to be on the scene even before the plane juddered to a halt, and he thanked members of the public for their concern.
Recordings from Air Traffic Control reveal the 18-year-old aircraft was told to stop.
A controller at La Guardia airport can be heard telling the craft repeatedly to stop, before warning an incoming aircraft that it would have to circle before coming in to land. He then reassures Mr Pence’s aircraft that help was on its way.
The JetBlue flight which was on its way into La Guardia had to spend almost two hours circling around Staten Island before finally being allowed to come down for its landing.
Air crash investigators will now be looking into the incident, including examining the flight data and voice recorders to find out exactly what happened. They will also be looking at weather conditions and talking to pilots to try to determine whether an issue with the aircraft caused it to skid.